TRIBUTES have flooded in for one of Arden School’s best-loved and best-known teachers of the last thirty years.
Michael ‘Mick’ Knight passed away on Saturday (February 7) after a long and brave battle with illness.
He leaves behind his beloved wife Sharon.
Flags at the school in Knowle have been flown at half-mast in tribute to the larger than life former English teacher.
And tributes have been paid by staff and pupils, past and present.
I (Observer Editor Chris Willmott) was one of those lucky former pupils of Mick – and without his encouragement and fantastic teaching style may never have become a journalist.
He inspired me to put pen to paper, he inspired creativity, he understood how each pupil was different and needed to be treated as such… that included the occasional extension of coursework and homework deadlines when he knew the end product would be worth the wait.
One example of this that stands out in my memory got me one of my first ever A grades and was the catalyst for my love of writing – a love that has lasted 25 years and counting.
I have Mick Knight to thank for that and will never forget what he did for me.
I’m sure if you asked any of the thousands of pupils he taught in a 25 year career at Arden they could all tell you a similar story of inspiration.
But it wasn’t just in the classroom that he inspired pupils and fellow staff – or with his impeccable choice of car – a classic Volkswagen Beetle.
His enthusiasm was infectious – whether it be coaching various school sports teams, leading ski trips or encouraging pupils from Fleming – the house team he was head of – to triumph over their rivals – Mick Knight was a character you simply couldn’t ignore.
He retired from the school in 2010, but his legacy and reputation will always live on in the corridors of Arden.
Tributes to loyal Sheffield Wednesday fan Mick have been paid this week by all who knew him.
Below are the tributes from some of the former work colleagues who knew and loved him best:
Malcolm Evans: “Mick was a typical gruff northerner who didn’t suffer fools gladly but who had a heart of gold.
“He always wanted the pupils in his charge to achieve the very best that they could and always went the extra mile to help them achieve it.
“He had real integrity about what he did and tried to achieve.
“He also possessed a lovely sense of humour and always made me smile. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.”
Steve Gent: “Mick was totally dedicated to helping and supporting the pupils he taught and like his attitude to sport, he gave everything to make sure they were successful.
“He was a lovely colleague, friend and gifted teacher.
“Everyone who knew him will have wonderful memories of a great man who not only inspired pupils but also fellow teachers.
“He was liked, respected and admired by pupils and staff alike.”
Debbie Ollier: “Mick was an inspired, and inspiring, English teacher, who was always generous-spirited; willingly sharing ideas, resources and amusing anecdotes.
“He was a key player in a department that made teaching at English at Arden a lively and creative force.
“His wit, professionalism, and passion for the subject, and the students, shone through that sometimes curmudgeonly, northern exterior, so that those of us who really knew him, loved him well.”
Adrienne Jenkins: “Mick was a fantastic colleague and a wonderful friend.
“He was loyal and caring – true Yorkshire grit with a heart of gold.
“I will miss his humour and his friendship.
“He was a remarkable man and many peoples’ lives will undoubtedly have been improved by having known him.”